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May 28, 2008 > Harvey Green Elementary School Band: Green is Good

Harvey Green Elementary School Band: Green is Good

Submitted By Kathleen Caine
Photos By Kathleen Caine

Dressed formally in white shirts and black slacks or skirts, a small group of students were up bright and early Saturday, May 17th, waiting to hop on a bus to Peterson Middle School in Sunnyvale for the annual Music in the Parks band competition.

Although most of the public school bands in Fremont take competition in stride, this one was a little different. Made up of fourth, fifth and sixth graders, they are the only public elementary school band in Fremont that routinely competes. Led by band instructor, Denise Whitney, they were ready with two compositions: Larry Clark's "Magma" and "Pirates of the Caribbean," arranged by Michael Sweeney.

Whitney has been escorting the students to the competition for five years, and has taught elementary band at Harvey Green Elementary School since 2000, the first year the Fremont Education Foundation began funding the After-School Band Program. "We do very well," she commented, "Especially for a weekly class. Often our competition meets daily, and some are lucky enough to have their band class embedded in their school day."

The older students are used to the tension and excitement, but it was the first time for fourth grader Jason Tran. Still, "I wasn't very scared," he said, when asked how he felt about the event.

"Competing is a key part of the band experience," Whitney commented, "But, getting the students ready in such a short amount of time is a real challenge." She credits part of her success to the fact that, "Each year, I can count on students from Horner Junior High and Irvington High School to return to help out." In fact, Andrew and Kenneth Phung, two Green school alumni, were on hand Saturday to do just that.

It made for a long day. After a full morning of competition, the students were treated to an afternoon of fun at Great America. The event culminated in an evening awards ceremony where the young band took second place in their category and scored a "good."

Visit the Fremont Education Foundation web site at for more information about the After-School Band program and how your child can participate next year.

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